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January 11, 2024

Using Simulation for Prelicensure Nursing Clinical Hours by U.S. State 2024 


Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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Nursing simulations help students prepare for real-world scenarios without the risk of patient harm while also boosting their confidence in their clinical judgment skills. Simulations have existed for a long time, but only in the last decade has research been released to prove their efficacy in replacing clinical hours in nursing education.

Back in 2014, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) conducted a groundbreaking study that highlighted the effectiveness of simulation in replacing traditional clinical hours. 

This study discovered that simulation could effectively replace up to 50% of the clinical hours required for prelicensure nursing students, all without any negative impact on their learning outcomes.

Considering this study, we conducted thorough research to determine which states currently permit nursing colleges and universities to substitute clinical hours with simulations and, equally important, the specific percentages of time allowed. 

This information is crucial for both aspiring nurses and educational institutions seeking to provide the best possible training for their students.

States that permit clinical hours to be replaced by simulation

  1. Arkansas 50%
  2. California 25%
  3. Connecticut 50%
  4. Colorado 50%
  5. Florida 50%
  6. Georgia 75%
  7. Idaho 50%
  8. Illinois 25%
  9. Indiana 25%
  10. Iowa 50%
  11. Kentucky 50%
  12. Louisiana 50%
  13. Maine 50%
  14. Maryland 50%
  15. Montana 50%
  16. New Hampshire 50%
  17. New York 33%
  18. Nevada 50%
  19. North Carolina 50%
  20. Oklahoma 30%
  21. Oregon 49%
  22. South Carolina 50%
  23. South Dakota 50%
  24. Tennessee 50%
  25. Texas 50%
  26. Vermont 25%
  27. Virginia 25%
  28. West Virginia 50
  29. Wisconsin 50%

The use of simulation in prelicensure nursing education has witnessed significant growth and acceptance across various states. The influential 2014 study conducted by the NCSBN has paved the way for a more progressive approach to clinical training. By allowing a percentage of clinical hours to be replaced by simulation, states are promoting a more immersive and dynamic learning experience for nursing students. 

How effective is simulation?

Simulation has proven to be a highly effective method in nursing education. A systematic review conducted on the topic revealed the significant benefits of simulation in terms of skill performance, knowledge acquisition, clinical performance, self-confidence, critical thinking skills, and communication skills. This review included eight studies that reported statistically significant improvements in all these areas when compared to traditional teaching strategies.

The findings of this review provide concrete evidence of the effectiveness of simulation as a powerful tool for prelicensure nursing students. By engaging in realistic clinical scenarios through simulation, students have the opportunity to enhance their clinical skills and knowledge in a safe and controlled environment. This hands-on approach allows students to practice and refine their abilities before entering actual clinical settings.

One of the key advantages of simulation is its ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice. While traditional teaching methods often focus heavily on theoretical concepts, simulation provides a practical and immersive platform for students to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-life scenarios. This not only improves their skill performance but also reinforces their understanding of complex nursing concepts.

Discover how the University of West Florida used UbiSim virtual reality simulation to bridge the gap between theory and practice. 

Simulation offers a unique opportunity for students to develop crucial transferable skills, such as critical thinking and communication. These skills are essential for providing safe and effective patient care, and simulation enables students to hone them through repeated exposure to various clinical situations. By actively participating in simulations, students can learn to think critically, make informed decisions, and communicate effectively with patients, family members, and other healthcare providers.

Final thoughts

Looking ahead to the year 2024, it is expected that simulation will continue to play a prominent role in prelicensure nursing clinical hours across various U.S. states. As nursing programs strive to meet the evolving demands of healthcare education, integrating simulation into curricula will likely become even more widespread. This is supported by the growing recognition of simulation as an effective teaching method, as well as the advancements in simulation technology that enable more realistic and immersive experiences.

One highly effective, high-fidelity simulation tool is immersive virtual reality. UbiSim is the world’s first VR platform built just for nursing. Request a demo today and give the students in your program a learning advantage. 
Interested in trying UbiSim in your healthcare institution?
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Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

As an integral center of UbiSim's content team, Ginelle pens stories on the rapidly changing landscape of VR in nursing simulation. Ginelle is committed to elevating the voices of practicing nurses, nurse educators, and program leaders who are making a difference.

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